Learning outcomes of the course unit
The main objective of the Zoology course is to provide students with basic scientific knowledge of the molecular and cellular organization of animals and of the main aspects of animal biology, with particular reference to evolutionary processes and the systematic arrangement of taxa.
Course contents summary
ZOOLOGY AS PART OF BIOLOGY: what is Zoology? Zoology as scientific process.
ARCHITECTONIC MODEL OF AN ANIMAL: hierarchical organization of the animal complexity. Structural models of animal bodies. Symmetry. Body cavities. Metameric segmentation. Cephalisation. Homology and Analogy.
LIFE MOLECULES: Water. Organic compounds. Carbohydrates. Lipids. Proteins. Enzymes. Nucleic acids.
THE ORIGIN OF LIFE: Prebiotic world. Origin and features of organisms. Precambrian life. The evolution of eukaryotes.
THE CELL AS THE UNIT OF LIFE: The concept of cell. Cellular organization. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Essential features of animal cells. Biological membranes. Trade-off of substances between the cell and the environment. Organization and functions of the cell nucleus and of the cytoplasmatic organelles. The cellular cycle.
CELLULAR DIVISION, REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT: The cellular division. Mitosis and meiosis. Gametogenesis. Asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction. The conjugation of Ciliates. The evolution of sexual reproduction: isogamy and anisogamy. Fertilization. Amphigony e parthenogenesis. Sexual dimorphism. Gonochorism and hermaphroditism. Sexual selection. Mating strategies. Monogamy and polygamy. Parental cares. Metagenesis and neoteny. Embryonic and post-embryonic development. Metamorphosis.
EVOLUTION: History of evolutionary thought. Darwin’s theory and the supporting evidences. The revision of the Darwinian Theory. Microevolution. Speciation and reproductive isolation mechanisms. Macroevolution.
INTERACTIONS AMONG ORGANISMS: Associations among homospecific animals and among heterospecific animals. Camouflage and mimicry. Aposematic colorations. Aggressive mimicry. Co-evolution. Intraspecific mimicry.
ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR: History of Ethology. The adaptive meaning of behaviour. Instinct and learning. Genetics and evolution of behaviour. Agonistic behaviour and dominance. The territory. The communication. Food strategies. Social behaviour. Altruism.
ANIMAL CLASSIFICATION AND PHYLOGENESIS: Classification criteria. Taxonomic nomenclature. Systematic categories. Phylogenetic arrangement and characteristics of the main taxa: Protozoa; Mesozoa; Porifera; appearance and evolution of Metazoa; Cnidaria and Ctenophores; Platyhelminthes and other acoelomates; Nematodes and other pseudocoelomates; Molluscs, Annelids, Arthropods and other protostome eucoelomates; Lophophorates, Echinoderms and other non-chordate deuterostome eucoelomates; origin and evolution of the Chordates; evolution of the Vertebrates.
DORIT et al. - Zoologia, ed. Zanichelli.
HICKMAN et al. - Zoologia, ed. EdiSES.
MITCHELL et al. - Zoologia, ed. Zanichelli.
Teaching is by classroom lectures on the topics indicated in the programme. During the course, the student can sit a total of two in-course tests that consist of writing answers to the questions in questionnaires handed out by the professor. If the student passes the tests and considers the result satisfactory, the result of the written tests will be considered valid for defining the mark/grade in the final exam; if the student fails the tests or does not consider the result satisfactory, he/she must pass an oral examination.